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Welcome. Traumatic accidents seriously impact one’s life. However, with the proper information and support you—or someone you care about—can recover the life you were meant to have. In this blog, you will find tools, tips and ideas to facilitate the recovery process —tools that help patients cope with physical and psychological injuries and conditions.

A note to insurance companies: you, too, will find valuable information here that will help you better serve your insured customers. In fact, when patients get the proper support and needed care and treatment up front, they need far fewer resources in the long run than they would if support is withheld. That translates into a big win-win for the insurance carrier and a boost to the bottom line.

Here, accident survivors will learn to do more than survive—they will learn to thrive.

Vehicular Trauma Syndrome

April 14, 2017

I want to introduce a new syndrome which I call Vehicular Trauma Syndrome or VTS. From my clinical practice which specializes in treating people who have survived serious vehicular accidents of one kind or another, I have come to recognize a constellation of psychological and physical symptoms specific to these kinds of accidents. There are also characteristic stages of recovery which I will briefly describe.

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The Horrors of Texting and Driving

April 7, 2017

It was a beautiful spring day in rural Texas last week. By all accounts, a pleasant, fun-loving, 20-year-old man was driving his pickup truck, when distracted by texting, he drove head-on into a mini-bus with 14 occupants returning from a church retreat. Thirteen people on the bus died at the scene. One bus survivor remained in critical condition, as did the young man.

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Car Accidents and Collective Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

March 27, 2017

What do we know about car accidents and modern society?  We know that injury from auto accidents is a major public health concern.  In the United States, there are about six million auto accidents each year resulting in about three million people injured.  We know that many people do not do what they can to keep themselves and others safe while driving.  For example, even though wearing seatbelts reduces the risk of death or serious injury by roughly 50%, 1 in 7 people still do not wear seatbelts when driving.

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Recovering From Trauma and Its Obstacles (Part 2)

March 27, 2017

This week’s blog is a continuation of last week’s post. Please indulge me as I take a brief dive into Greek mythology as its gods help us to understand concepts about the human psyche that are often still used in our psychological terminology today. Wikipedia states that for the ancient Greeks, the god Thanatos was the personification of death. There is an ancient statue which depicts him as a winged youth with a sword swung from his shoulder. Homer wrote about him in the Iliad, along with his twin brother Hypnos, god of sleep.

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Recovering From Trauma and Its Obstacles (Part 1)

March 27, 2017

In many years of working psychotherapeutically with trauma survivors, I have learned that self-care is at the heart of trauma recovery. I have also frequently observed that highly intelligent people who are struggling with life circumstances repeatedly make bad choices for themselves that lead them into greater difficulties. This paradox often strikes me as perplexing. Why do some smart people when dealing with traumatic life events make bad choices that are counter to self-care?

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What Do Auto Accidents, PTSD, and TBI Have in Common?

March 6, 2017

Contrary to popular belief, the hippocampus is not a place where hippopotami go for higher learning. It is actually a seahorse-shaped structure deep within our brains that has to do with memory and emotions and is implicated in PTSD, TBI, fibromyalgia, depressionand many other psychological conditions.

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Free Hands Do Not Mean Free Minds

February 28, 2017

As a psychologist specializing in treating victims of auto crashes, many of my patients face life long disabilities and pain due to injuries resulting from crashes that resulted from the actions of distracted drivers.  It is likely no surprise that the cell phone is the number one problem when it comes to motor vehicle trauma caused by distracted drivers.

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Self-Driving Cars and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

February 20, 2017

We are at a major juncture in technological developments with respect to how we travel in cars. In a February 13, 2017, article Janet Burns reported that Ford Motor Company announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in self-driving artificial intelligence in a virtual driver system to be created by Argo AI.

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Who Is Responsible For the Crash?

February 10, 2017

Is Apple guilty? Arden Dier posted an article in the NEWSER on December 29, 2016, entitled “Parents Sue, Blame FaceTime for Death of Daughter.” The article describes the tragic death of a 5-year-old girl who died as a result of a car slamming into the back of the vehicle the girl was riding in.

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Accident vs. Crash

February 3, 2017

When should the word “accident” be replaced with “crash”? In my practice as a clinical and forensic psychologist specializing in trauma resulting from vehicular crashes we often use the word accident to describe the event. However, often the traumatic event was not the result of behaviors that are unintentional in the sense of some level of personal negligence can be attributed.

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Lady Gaga’s PTSD and the Mind Body Connection

December 9, 2016

Lady Gaga recently announced that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain from being sexually assaulted when she was 19. She performed a song “Til It Happens to You” at the Oscars this year.  The song was written for a documentary about sexual assault entitled The Hunting Ground.

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Lord Nelson’s Traumatic Brain Injury

December 9, 2016

Lord Horatio Nelson was England’s most celebrated soldier, the Admiral who defeated Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805.

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What Medical Students Need To Know About Auto Accidents

November 21, 2016

On July 15, 2016, I was interviewed by Anthony Sarchiapone from McGraw Hill’s medical education podcast series. The focus of the interview was on what new medical students need to know about auto accident survivors when assisting them in the emergency room. A recording of the entire interview can be found on my website

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Auto Accidents and Insurance Issues

October 10, 2016

Who will pay for your psychological care in the event you sustain psychological injuries in an auto accident? Most people do not know the answer and most do not care to consider it unless they are in need of care.

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Good Therapy is Good Grieving

September 13, 2016

My training analyst frequently reminded me that good therapy is good grieving. In order to move forward in life, we must constantly tally our life ledgers as to what we have lost and gained. Moving through life involves coping with and integrating constant losses and gains.

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Spotlight on Brain Trauma: How Motorsports is Spotlighting Personality and Brain Function

August 26, 2016

It was recently announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be sidelined from Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Race. I blogged previously on NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s concussion resulting from back-to-back crashes in Michigan and Daytona and how it has further advanced public awareness of the silent epidemic of brain trauma.

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If You Don’t Look Injured, You Must Be Fine

August 22, 2016

When it comes to people injured in car accidents who do not show obvious signs of their injuries, it is difficult for others around them to understand what you are experiencing.  Friends and family cannot see what is broken inside your head, even on an MRI or CT scan.

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Auto Accidents and Brain Trauma : What is a concussion?

August 15, 2016

The public, and even many professionals, are confused by the different terms used to describe a brain injury.  Close head injury, traumatic brain injury, concussion, post-concussive syndrome are often used interchangeably.

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The Psychological Effect of Trauma on Physicians (Podcast)

August 10, 2016

Auto accidents are the 9th most common cause of death worldwide, and are poised to move into the top 5 by 2030. Dr. James Zender, a PhD clinical and forensic psychologist with over 30 years trauma experience, the last 15 of which he specialized in auto accident trauma treatment and care, joined our podcast to discuss the epidemic of auto accidents and the psychological effect of trauma on healthcare professionals. 

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CNN: If Humans had Evolved to Survive Car Crashes

August 2, 2016

A CNN video featuring a fascinating look at the how the human body would need to be built to survive car crashes.

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